Christmas has come early, with more consumers than ever tucking into festive bakery treats well ahead of the big day.

In October, it was revealed that supermarket shoppers had already spent £4.1m on mince pies this year.

Now, new figures have revealed that pre-December mince pie spend has gone up to £16.1m, 6.4% higher than the same period last year [Kantar Worldpanel, 12 w/e 4 November 2018].

Waitrose, meanwhile, said sales across its range of mince pies were up 43% year-on-year in the week ended 27 November.

And a survey by the retailer found that only 3% of consumers wait until Christmas Day to eat their first mince pie of the season, with 4% managing to hold off until Christmas Eve.

One in 10 consumers surveyed by Waitrose said they enjoyed their first mince pie as early as October, while more than one in five had theirs in November. The research showed people from Yorkshire were most likely to eat a mince pie early, while those in Northern Ireland were least likely.

Asked for the reason, half of Waitrose’s respondents said they loved them and just couldn’t wait.

It remains to be seen whether the strong early start means sales will top last Christmas, which brought a 13.2% year-on-year rise in mince pie sales.

Still looking for Christmas bakery inspiration? British Baker subscribers can read our take on the top trends of the season here, and read about mince pie product development here.